At a meeting on Tuesday, right before the UN World Summit, President George W. Bush and President Hu Jintao met to discuss the importance of strengthening U.S.-China relations that will include human rights to the agenda.
After the meeting, Senior Director of Asian Affairs Michael Green, an assistant to the President, briefed the press on what the two world leaders discussed and how the President feels on the religious situation in China.
According to Green, Pres Hu spoke about the domestic challenges that China is facing due to poverty and a large amount of workers, "24 million every year," who are unable to earn a stable income, even though China's economy is growing at a rapid rate.
Therefore, Hu said that what he wanted for China was a "peaceful external environment and good relations with the U.S." as well as allowing his country to be a "contributing member of the international community."
Bush responded to Hu's challenge and attributed his problems within the context of human rights and religious freedom by saying that for China to "succeed" in bringing about a "peaceful development strategy," religious freedom needs to be considered, Green reported.
In addition, the White House presented a list of specific concerns to the Chinese representatives, where Green said, that it will be followed up on at a later date.
Meanwhile, the President has confirmed that he will meet Hu in China to discuss, in more details, how they can improve U.S.-China relations in mid-November.